Despite almost ground-shaking cast changes the Bolshoi Ballet season in London was absolutely terrific this summer in all aspects: their repertoire, superb corps, principals and soloists’ performances and the general high spirit of the entire company. And they produced this fireworks having arrived here straight after the end of their own Moscow season, which also included several foreign tours (USA, Italy, etc.). They showed no signs of tiredness although some confessed in private of their longing for a few weeks of holidays.
The younger generation of dancers was represented in title roles in every production and was showered with praises from the critics, which were well deserved. I admired them too but here I want to praise the Bolshoi’s ‘older’ generation.
We did not see Gracheva, Stepanenko, Antonicheva, Belogolovtsev and Uvarov this time (although the latter did dance with Ryzhkina in “Giselle” in Brazil one week before the London tour). There were only two of ‘the old guard’ this time, Ryzhkina and Tsiskaridze, and their performances will stay in my memory as an example of Class with capital letter.
At last Marianna Ryzhkina danced in London after 21-year interval. On her first visit here in 1989, right after her graduation, with a small group from the Bolshoi, she was dancing pas de deux from La fille in Divertissement. Sadly, throughout her career she had no chance to perform here. Now she was cast in 3 performances, not on opening nights, and showed her delicate grace, impeccable taste and outstanding musicality. It looks as she ‘articulated’ the music with movements of her feet, arms and the whole body. Her Vision Scene in Don Q. was a sheer delight: no excesses, just beauty.
I loved Nikolai Tsiskaridze in Le Corsaire and Paquita. He will be 37 this year. Every time when any dancer of this age does Le Corsaire pas de deux I try not to recall his younger years and, therefore, was tensely waiting for Nikolai’s variation. And what a variation it was! Not a combination of stunts but classically performed jumps, spins, steps united in impressive phrasing. For coda he chose a series of unusual jumps from Grigorovich’s “Legend of Love”, without en tournant but demanding the soaring quality and perfect form, and he finished with the traditional round of his sweeping jete en tournant.
What a joy to see the ‘older generation’ in this splendid form. That is why I shared Cassandra’s indignation with spiteful remarks by SOME critics. Although I was not surprised by this. Nikolai Tsiskaridze was always too colourful for some. When criticizing “his kit” and hairstyle they were blind to the fact that all corsairs on stage were “dressed in a bolero and skirt” and had “long curls”, or “ringletted hair”. While one of the critics lamented that he “doesn't act… and it's left to Alexandrova as Medora to tell the story of their love affair”, another critic recorded that “the pair look besotted”. Whom to believe? Poor misled readers. The viewers were not misled and the fans displayed their love for these dancers with a flower throw.
Last edited by coda on Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.